Haruto Kujikawa’s “sapphire×ruby” (Review)

Traditional Japanese music blends with rock music once again. Haruto Kujikawa’s entry in the 2nd season of bi-color series shows improvements from last year’s take.

Title: VAZZROCK bi-color series 2nd season Onoda Sho-diamond x pearl- 
Label: Tsukipro/Movic 
Release date: 27/09/2019 
Genre: Pop/Rock

Tracklist:

1 - ドラマ「犬と猫とで、探り合い」
2 - ドラマ「犬と猫とで、乾杯」
3 - ソロ曲「いにしえ、蒼き空」
4 - デュエット曲「閃光、花火。」(performed by Yoshiaki Hasegawa and Masahiro Yamanaka) 
5 - いにしえ、蒼き空 -off vocal-
6 - 閃光、花火。 -off vocal-

Track by track analysis:

3 – いにしえ、蒼き空

As it is common with Haruto Kujikawa’s performances we have a blend of rock music with traditional Japanese music. From the poetic lyrics to the playful, upbeat lead shamisen melody to the subtle shakuhachi melodies, this song has a traditional touch all over it. Guitar work is off the charts for this song, shining in the verses and in the outro with an unexpected overdriven and vibrato filled guitar solo.

On the vocal end, Hasegawa has the difficult task of adding a traditional touch to his modern performance. He pulled it off once again and delivered an interesting performance filled with energy and never disregarding the timeless quality of traditional singing. 5/5

4 – 閃光、花火。

With a dreamy intro, minimalistic verses and funky choruses, this song is the highlight of this release. Fancy strings, minimalist synths, a simple looping piano melody, funky guitar riffs and a groovy bass line complete this slow paced, loungy hybrid of electronica and funk. It is dreamy. It is relaxing and easy to listen. It is a song with a soundscape reminiscent of a later summer day, a song that makes the listener long for more.

The duet song is performed by Yoshiaki Hasegawa and Masahiro Yamanaka, duo that shines in the mid-to-high notes department. Hasegawa showcased his vibrato and falsetto, matching the quality and technique of Masahiro Yamanaka. Great teamwork, fancy vocal performance and overall entertaining performance. 5/5

Final rating:

The newest entry in VAZZROCK‘s 2nd season of the bi-color series is helmed by Haruto Kujikawa (Yoshiaki Hasegawa). After last year’s impressive performance in the series, expectations were high for this release.

We can safely confirm that those expectations were more than met with this release. Traditional Japanese music is still a big component that defines Kujikawa‘s style. Although this mix does not bring anything new to the table, it is always interesting to have yet another take on the genre, listen more to what traditional Japanese instruments can do when blending with rock music.

The duet this time around was perfect. Hasegawa and Yamanaka were a perfect fit to tackle this funky tune with their solid mid tones and fancy vocal techniques.

With an  improved solo track and an addictive duet song, Kujikawa’s entry in the 2nd season of the bi-color series is certainly one to check out. What was already a great formula and steady vocals proved to sound even better in this release.

Kujikawa Haruto -saphire×ruby- is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

VAZZROCK bi-color Series 2nd Season / Haruto Kujikawa (CV: Yoshiaki Hasegawa) & Issa Kizuku (CV: Masahiro Yamanaka)
Haruto Kujikawa (CV: Yoshiaki Hasegawa) & Issa Kizuku (CV: Masahiro Yamanaka)

Author: midorin

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. After a 6 month stint in Macau SAR, I am back to being based in Cascais, Portugal. Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" was the catalyst to completely focus on writing about male seiyuu music.

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